Colin had just celebrated his 28th birthday when he passed away from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. He was 25 years old when a simple surgical procedure (removing a mole) resulted in the diagnosis that would claim his life less than three years later.
Colin was an athlete, a personal trainer and lived a healthy lifestyle. He exercised daily, watched his diet and did everything one should do to guarantee a long and healthy life. He had no idea that under his skin, a sinister disease was thriving – melanoma – a disease that would end his life way too soon.
While most cancer rates are declining, melanoma is increasing. Today, there are triple the number of cases of melanoma than there were 30 years ago. Melanoma is the most common type of cancer in the 25-29 year-old age range. Melanoma is treatable if diagnosed early. Irregular moles or marks on the skin are the only warning signs. People with melanoma do not feel sick.
Research shows that melanoma is caused by repeated exposure to the sun. People with fair skin, a history of sunburns, family members who have had skin cancer and those who tan regularly (outside or in tanning beds) are more likely to be at risk for melanoma. Daily use of sunscreen, wearing protective clothing (such as hats and long-sleeved cover-ups) and avoiding tanning beds or the sun at mid-day are excellent ways to prevent melanoma.
Early detection of this disease is key. Monthly self-checks along with an annual visit to a dermatologist are essential, especially if you fall into one of the high-risk categories mentioned above.
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